Bathwater

Of Honeymoons and Joining Forces

Like any other regular school day, the Great Hall was filled with most of its student. From the not-so-frighten-anymore First Years, to the returning Seventh Years that looked smug on their faces because many of them were already legal adults—who enjoyed to display their more advanced magic to the younger students. Earning them frowns and disapproving stares from the Hogwarts teachers and Filch, who looked like he was waiting for one of them to conjure paint all over the walls of the castle.

Laughter and mindless chatter was the sound that bounced off the walls of the Great Hall, coming from every house-table, and even the usually sophisticated and silent students of Salazar Slytherin were busy gossiping and retorting remarks about everyone else. (Like regular conniving snakes that they were.)

And through that hectic commotion, trying to just sit in silence and ignore everyone else, one student was having problems with his plans as all he was able to register was the annoying words coming out of the closest two people in front of him.

"I love you."

"No, I love you."

"No, no. I love you."

"No, I really love you."

"Yeah, but I really, really, love you."

"Impossible. I really, really, real—"

"I will really, really, really, hex your mouth off—so shut it!" Draco Malfoy hissed, his silver eyes stabbing the faces of Blaise and Cho Zabini. (The disgust of such union already.)

Clashing with the emerald and silver around the table with her navy and bronze, Cho's jaw dropped and her hands slipped away from her husband's as she stared shockingly at the Slytherin Prince. (Oh, hell to the not right about there.)

"Erm, Drake," Blaise patted Cho's hand reassuringly and turned his green eyes at his friend, "can you please not interrupt us? We're in our honeymoon, and I honestly don't like being cut-off when I'm trying to explain to my wife my deepest feelings for her."

Malfoy continued to frown at them, his right hand clutching onto his spoon with fury that he started bending the metal back. "I've been hearing the same bloody sentences for the past twenty minutes and the twenty minutes before that! No one bloody cares for your need to explain to your wife how you liked to caress and snuggle after you two finished doing something that goes against nature!" The neck of the spoon was already bent all that it could go, and now he tried to channel his anger in breaking it in half.

The new Zabini couple both glared; both turning a little flush-pink as other Slytherins started listening in.

"And you've been on your 'honeymoon'," Malfoy continued dangerously annoyed, "for the past month! Come back to the bloody present. At a certain point, the sickness of it must end!"

Cho frowned, her shocked face wiping completely off. "The sickness of it," she repeated, her dark eyes turning into a menacing stare. "Look, Malfoy—"

"No, you look, Cho," Draco interrupted again, throwing his broken spoon at the couple. "If you've yet to notice, you're not in the Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw table, and we Slytherins tend to handle situations differently than making nearby people gag with the ridiculous crap you and Zabini are doing, alright? So I suggest you let the others, alike myself, sulk and frown in peace like we're used to."

Cho glared harder, making Blaise's eyes open wide as she squeezed his fingers with her retracting palm. "Look, Malfoy," she tossed the spoon back, getting the blonde Slytherin directly on the forehead, "just because you're quite the imbecile and got yourself in—"

"Okay, okay." And just as the Ravenclaw was interrupted once more, a wand suddenly was pointed towards her face; silencing her completely.

(But, oh, did Blaise look like he was in much more pain as he let out squeals as Cho twisted his fingers in her silent anger.)

"We've seriously become a bad influence on the other houses," Pansy Parkinson commented as she held her wand in place. "I think you might want to shape her up again, Blaise, or this is going to become quite dangerous."

Blaise let out another squeal of pain as Cho squeezed his hand tighter, clenching her teeth as Pansy kept the silencing charm on her.

And unaware of it—or choosing to ignore it since it was a lot more fun this way— Pansy narrowed her eyes at her blonde house-mate. "And as for you, Draco, you need a long walk around the grounds. How does that sound?"

"I don't want to take a walk."

"I didn't ask if you wanted to," Pansy hissed, her wand-tip now pointing at his face. (Before, months ago, actually, she would've never dared to command the Slytherin Prince, but now was now. She had been around a redhead barbarian and knew nothing but grunts and orders.) "I said you need one, hence you will take one." She gripped the collar of his robes, pulling on his emerald tie and cutting off some of his oxygen. "Come on now, up, up, up."

Malfoy shoved her grip away, taking in a deep breath as Blaise squealed once more.

"Mind lifting the spell!" Blaise shouted, his eyes turning deep red as his fingers drained from their color and blood stopped rushing to his hand.

"But it's funnier this way." Pansy smirked, watching the dark boy's face twist up with pain. (Oh, she had not forgotten that Cho used to play Quidditch and her strength was more than average.) "Fine. I suppose you need your fingers for her pleasure, anyway," she sighed, turning her wand back to the angry-faced Ravenclaw. "Finite."

There was a loud gasp of air.

Thump.

"You!" Cho snapped in fury as Blaise's legs hung over the ledge of the bench, ignoring her husband as his back collided with the marbled floor roughly.

"Relax, will you?" Pansy interjected, her wand raised again for protection. "You want an apology for the affectionate display you were giving? Alright! Draco, apologize to the witch." With her free hand, she motioned the wizard next to her to move along with the process. She had lots to do and couldn't waste time playing the role of the good friend. She rather be preparing things for her upcoming wedding than dealing with this rubbish.

Malfoy scoffed, looking arrogantly at the Ravenclaw. "I'm not apologizing to that lovey-dovey rubbish, pile of disgusting mush—"

"Draco, apologize!" Pansy hissed once more, smacking him with her wand across the head. "You want to have Zabini keep you company at night again?"

Grunting, Malfoy hesitantly dropped his frown. "Forgive me, Cho. Apparently, I need to ignore you two until you've come...back from your honeymoon."(…You disgusting, friend-changing witch, he thought after.)

"Very well, now we're done here." Pansy nodded, pocketing her death-stick into her robes. "Put some ice on that, Zabini, or you'll never get the circulation back," she commented indifferently, linking her arm through Draco's and steering him away from the Slytherin table.

None of the students of that house paid attention to Zabini's howl of pain or Cho mutterings of, "get over it. I didn't even squeeze that hard."

X

They were walking in silence—a complete tensed, awkward, pressured, odd, uncomfortable, annoying, irritating silence.

Pansy turned in an angle to face her friend, narrowing her eyes but he just kept looking forward; still trying to let his arm loose from her hold for the past ten minutes.

She narrowed her eyes even more, a frown on her face as they walked deeper into the grounds of their school in that stupid silence that was driving her up the damn wall.

"Draco," she sighed after another few more annoying moments of silence, letting the frustration out of her, "that's the second time this week that you manage to enrage Cho. Next time you won't be so fortunate, and she will end up cursing your manly-bits off."

Trying to cross his arms over his chest, pushing her arm again, Malfoy sent the girl one of his usual glares at her; and at any student that passed them as they looked at him with gossiping eyes. "I'd like to see her try, that manky witch." He shoved a younger Gryffindor from his path, scowling harder in his rage. "I liked it quite better when Blaise was just in it for the sex—"

"That's changed?" Pansy interrupted, raising an eyebrow.

But Malfoy seemed not to hear her as he continued with, "but no! All of a sudden it's Cho-this and Cho-that. Have you heard what he calls her?" He turned to her, and right when she opened her mouth to say something he interjected with, "he calls her 'my Coco-Cho'—What the bloody hell is that?"

Pansy grimaced and tried to shake out the image of Blaise running behind the Ravenclaw and calling her pet-names. "Ugh," she shuddered, "well, I'd defend him and say that no one ever told us that once the marriage ceremony is presented that the dosage of feelings the couples have for one another multiplies. It's a sneaky way that the Ministry, I reckon, has conjured up so the marriages last, but then again...Zabini has always been a bit of a daft." (It was very true.) "You remember what he named his hamster when he was five? Called it 'Captain Ham-Bam Zabini'. Let's just hope Cho chooses the names for their kids when the time comes."

Draco rolled his eyes and sighed once again, but this time it was more of a weak, defeated puff of air than his usually angry ones. "….I can't escape from it," he muttered, forgetting about the hamster-subject. (He knew that she was bound to bring the fact that he hexed the furry-creature to its death and make him feel guilty for another thing.) "All that love thing...It's everywhere." He squinted his eyes as they turned to a grassy pathway, the sun hitting him directly on his silvery eyes.

"Drake, come off it. No one else is the problem, it's what you're feeling that's the problem."

"No, everyone else is the problem. When have I ever been the problem?" He scoffed. "If Blaise and his witch were to cut their affection, or keep it strictly in their chamber, I wouldn't be feeling anything in the first place."

Pansy pulled on his arm, steering him away from the hill that led down to the main grounds, but to the trees hidden around the Herbology greenhouses. "Draco, you've got to stop running from what you did. There's no point of the both of you being aggravated and handling this all wrong."

The blonde Slytherin frowned. "I don't know what you're talking about." Honestly, he really didn't. Wasn't he Draco Malfoy? Didn't he always have the right to do anything he pleased simply because he was magnificent? (It was his exclusive contract to the world when he was born, and he demanded that people remember that. No matter how times have changed.)

"You're impossible," his friend heaved. "You messed up, Malfoy—messed up badly. And now you've to accept the consequences of what you did and stop taking them out on others. Blaise nor Cho have any fault that you pretended to be high and mighty when clearly you were down in the gutter like the rest of us. You ruined the only good thing going for you, accept it."

Draco pushed her away.

"Oh, please," Pansy huffed, pushing him back as well, "do not try and act that way with me, Draco Malfoy. I know you perfectly well to know that you do love the little Gryffindor bookworm, and that she's the only good thing you have. You had nothing else before her, and you won't continue to have anything if you don't fix this mess."

As Draco opened his mouth to throw one of his warm-feeling, tingly insults at the girl, his eyes caught sight of a very famous group of three strutting their way towards the Slytherins without knowing. His gaze automatically zeroed in on the only witch caught in the middle of the two boys; her brown curls gleaming in the sun rays, illuminating the red-tints they naturally held as her brown eyes focused on the ground she walked on.

"Damn it," Malfoy mumbled urgently, already turning on his heels when Pansy stopped him by gripping his arm and keeping him in place.

"Oi, Pans!" Before Draco could shove his friend away so he could go run and hide, the idiotic redhead spotted his fiancée and began to wave his arm manically in the air. (And the Weasel thought Lavender Brown had issues?) "What are you doing here?"

Pulling the fabric of his robes tightly and securely, Pansy kept Malfoy in place and smiled happily at her soon-to-be-husband. "Taking a walk with Draco, love. Are you going somewhere?"

Traitor, Malfoy thought aggressively.

At the mention of the forbidden name, Hermione Granger looked away from the shoes of the Chosen One and connected her eyes with the haunting silver ones.

"Hermione—"

Taking a step back, Draco watched wide-eyed as Harry Potter whipped out his wand from inside of his robes and lifted it up towards the girl next to him, pointing it straight at her face. "Muffliato."

"What the hell, Potter!" Malfoy growled, his anger running up to his face, infecting it with a strong red hue as Hermione looked back at the floor and headed passed him, rushing away from him without a look back.

Harry shrugged. "Sorry, Malfoy, but when 'Mione gives me orders," he lowered his wand, his marriage ring throwing a ray of silver light as the sun hit it, "I must obey them. I've seen her wrath, and believe me, I will not face it for you." The Boy-Who-Lived glared from behind his glasses, looking a bit annoyed as Ron began to kiss the Slytherin witch; both of them obviously unaware of the previous interaction. (How they managed to leave their chamber fully dressed or without being glued at the mouth seemed a mystery to a lot of people.)

"I—needed—to—talk—to—her!" Draco hissed each word carefully, his fist shaking as he resisted the urge to launch himself on Potter and smash his glasses in. (Good luck seeing then, Boy-Who-Will-Not-Die-For-His-Own-Good!)

The Golden Gryffindor shrugged again. "Yeah, well, those were my orders." He gave him on off smile, not moved by the Slytherin's threatening glare. (He had 'faced' the blonde's wrath before, and Harry was positive he was still as pathetic as ever.) "She didn't want to hear a thing you had to say so there really wasn't an option, was there?"

Draco's fist shook harder, his anger bubbling like a potion left unattended in a cauldron.

Grimacing slightly at the still-going make-out session Ron and Pansy were getting into, Harry started moving his feet to get away fast. "Look, Malfoy, let's leave it clear, yeah? If Hermione goes through with her decision, consider yourself a dead ferret, that's all."

"Is that a threat?" Draco snapped back at the retreating figure of Harry Potter, an unexplainable pain drifting into his eyes at the thought of the Gryffindor Princess wiped away from everyone memories; from his.

X

'She acts like we aren't Slytherins—' Blaise Zabini's voice rang loudly in a room pitch black. His words bounced off the walls like an echo, holding an effect of what seemed like misery and taunting. 'We are known to be deceivers.'

'—But sometimes we do things without thinking them. It's a common mistake among the human race.' Another voice, a more silkier one was heard from the darkness. 'I would never hurt you.' Draco Malfoy spoke, his voice sounding so caressing and soft. So unnatural of the way it usually was, no sneer or smugness present as his voice echoed around.

'I don't believe you, Malfoy,' a girl whispered now, sounding thoroughly unconvinced. 'I'm not an idiot but,' Hermione sighed deeply, a gust of air that sounded hollow in the black room, 'I'm willing to try this. To actually try this, without kicking or complaining.'

'You won't regret it.' Somewhere in the darkness, Draco whispered.

'—Still have your swagger, I see.' Everything changed in the blackness, and the girl's voice sounded harsher, more annoyed.

A scoff echoed off the walls, one that clearly belonged to Draco Malfoy. 'Yes, Granger, it could've been easier and less awkward,' his voice matched her annoyance, 'but then I couldn't do it the right way...I wouldn't be my charming self if I let someone assign us a date that will tie us together for eternity.' There was a pause in the darkness of the room. '...Will you marry me?'

'Yes.'

'—I've been thinking, Hermione,' there was a swift feel of wind and in the darkness Draco whispered, 'about the wedding, I mean.'

'And?' Hermione murmured back. The silence of their voices seeming so appropriate at the time.

'How would you feel about a summer wedding?' He asked. 'I just assume it'd be easier for you since the final exams will be done by then and nothing could interfere with your studying in the Spring. I know that whole learning-rubbish is important to you, and we could...study together...'

'You're thinking about accommodating me, Draco?' She asked, surprised.

'I just want you to be happy.'

'—I was trying to be considerate that you were sleeping merely because your mother asked me not to disturb her baby boy's precious dreams.' Another rush of wind blew in the room and Hermione's voice sounded infuriated off from the walls. 'Or else I would've barged in here like the uncivilized Muggle-Born that I am.'

'—My plan is going perfectly well!" Malfoy hissed, his words echoing in the blinding darkness. 'If you, the smartest bloke in the castle, can see the love I developed for the Muggle-Born, then obviously I'm playing my cards right and even she has began to believe it!' His anger could be heard boiling. ' I would never allow myself to love that filthy bookworm, even if I was tortured into it. I'm doing this for my benefit, like I've told you plenty of times before. This marriage is nothing but convenient for me and unlucky for her.'

And as the wind blew inside of the dimmed room, all that was heard after that was the sound of a heart breaking and sobs forming in the distance.

"Hermione!"

Being shaken roughly by the shoulders, Hermione Granger snapped her eyes open instantly, looking alert and ready to defend herself by the strong clutch someone had on her upper-half.

"What are you doing here?" She slapped at the arms extended forward from her, her voice thick with sleep as her eyes adjusted to the face peering down at her.

The eyes looking at her were suddenly washed away from their worry, and the dark-orbs stared more calm at the brunette. "I've come to visit you of course."

Yawning, Hermione rubbed her eyes lazily and tried to settle her aching heart. "I appreciate the thought, Viktor, but why this late at night?"

Viktor Krum grinned sheepishly at her and knelt himself in front of her, staring at her with a hint of admiration in his face as he watched her pull on the massive tangled-mess on top of her head. (Oh, she was always so beautiful to him with her dorky manner.) "I know you have lessons to attend to all day, and McGonagall would only permit me visitation rights at this hour."

The witch raised her eyebrow. "McGonagall? She let you come and visit me?" A snort escaped from her throat. "I would've assumed that the Headmistress was still not in speaking terms with me, let alone allow you to visit me. I must've scored an excellent mark on her last exam to grant me something like this." She frowned a little to herself and said, "…she still can't look me in the eye for what I'm going to do."

"Actually, I've come to visit my fiancée, but what do you mean?" The Bulgarian knitted his thick brows together, looking puzzled. "What are you going to do, Hermione?"

"Your fiancée?" Was all she heard from the Bulgarian. "Your fiancée comes to Hogwarts? Viktor, why didn't you tell me sooner! And why are you even here, shouldn't you be with her?" Hermione's jaw dropped as she circled her fingers around the muscular wrist of the wizard in front of her. "No, absolutely not. You must go with her, and if there's time you can stop by, but—"

"I'm not leaving," Viktor interjected and pushed her fingers off from his wrist, taking the chance of that action to hold on to her hands. "What did you mean, Hermione? Why would McGonagall be upset with you? You have not been breaking the rules again, have you?"

The brunette glared. (Did she look like she would purposely break the rules? Come on! Half of the time that she was breaking them it was because of Harry! She would've ran straight to a teacher if it wasn't because most of them weren't to be trusted at the time.) "No, I have not been breaking any rules. McGonagall is just simply upset with me."

Viktor huffed. "The reason being?"

The witch swallowed and shrugged in his hold, feeling uncomfortable at his piercing eyes. "….I'm giving up my magic."

There was a moment of silence.

"I'm sorry, I don't understand," the Bulgarian blinked perplexed. "You, the girl who thrives on all the mysteries and knowledge in our world, is giving it all up just because?"

Hermione let out a quiet sigh. "I would never give it up just because, Viktor." She looked down at their clasped hands. "I live for everything that I've accomplished since I entered Hogwarts. On my merits, my friends, my memories, but all that is gone now. And erasing it all—"

"Erasing it all?" Viktor repeated, frowning disapprovingly at the girl.

"I'm running away," she said almost resentfully, a knot forming in her throat as her eyes quickly danced around the chamber. The reminders of the moments she lived in the particular room stabbed her inside the walls of her brain. "…I had strength enough to last me a lifetime, Viktor. With everything I've lived through, everything I've survived from, nothing had prepared me for what was to come. Because apparently Death Eaters and Voldemort were never really a danger to me. I could've taken any coward out in a heartbeat. It gave me an advantage to survive, but then...it all faded away and the enemy…the thing that was going to b-break me all along was love."

Viktor gave Hermione's hands a squeeze, feeling a slight paranoid sensation tickle his chest as he saw her lower lip tremble. "…What did he do to you?"

"It's what I did," she mumbled. "I fell in love with him." Hermione laughed humorlessly, the sound coming out so fake and resented as it slipped from her lips. "I fell in love with him, and that's all it took...Just him to finally break me down...

"Ron gets a kick from it, you know? Of how…Draco Malfoy spent years and years threatening me that one day he'd put a stop to me, and he finally did it...And in the way he least imagined it would happen. He didn't need a wand, he didn't need a weapon, all he needed was lies and a few words draped in pixie dust..."

Silence reigned for a few more seconds.

And then Krum let out a deep breath, trying to figure out what he was going to say next. "Hermione," he began, "you can't go through with this." He released one of her hands, then moved his fingers to the side of her rosy right cheek. "You can't run away from a person like him."

Hermione tried to pull her hand away, shaking her head. "I can't—"

"You can't let him win!" He shouted at her, exasperated. "You have to show him that you're better than this!"

"I can't!" Tears raced down the brunette's cheeks, yelling back with her misery multiplying as she finally let the pressure in her throat scream out. "I can't do that! I can't!" A loud sob escaped from her body, making her tremble as she attempted to slap her palms over her eyes. "I have n-no choice, Viktor. It's either give up my magic or be trapped seeing his face for the rest of my days. And I can't! I'm not strong enough for this!"

Krum tried steadying her hands, tried steadying her but she put on a fight as she kept shouting.

"I can face a monster, a group of murderers, but I cannot face heartbreak! I cannot let myself suffer from the humiliation he caused me! I rather erase it all and pretend like I never was a part of this…" Her voice lowered suddenly, " …and then I'll be free."

"Listen, Hermione," Viktor forced himself to clutch roughly on her wrists, frowning at her with all his anger—an emotion that he never connected with her. "He's not worth it. He's not worth you losing everything you have gained! What about your best friends? You can't run from something that can be fixed! You can demand a change! I can help you—"

"Oh, Viktor," Hermione laughed again, the true emotion far from there as her tears kept falling down her eyes, "that's impossible. I can't demand for a change. The Marriage Law is absolute, just as the pairing was. You're in it without complain of who you're with, or you are not. And I choose that way. I choose forgetting it all."

And then Viktor said the unexpected, "be with me," looking like it was the most brilliant thing he'd ever thought of. Flashes of hope sunk into his sharp features as he nodded his head, squeezing her fingers eagerly. "We can go to the Ministry, go to the Minister, even, and plead with him to place us together."

The witch shook her head, "it doesn't really work like—"

"Hermione, you know that I would never hurt you," he interrupted. "We can be friends, I'm okay with that. That way you wouldn't have to give anything up...And I promise, you'll never have to see that bastard ever again."

(Oh, the temptation. Who would not want Viktor Krum, Bulgarian Bonbon, International Quidditch Player, Experienced Wizard? The idea of him was just a knee-shaker for any woman. But that's the thing, she wasn't any woman.)

"…No," but clearly Hermione had her own ideas of what being with the Bulgarian was about. "The prospect of it, Viktor, is generous, but you were placed with the person you're most likely to fall in love with—who you will fall in love with. I can't come in between that. You deserve happiness. And being with someone who will only look at you as a friend is not the happiness I want for you," she reached forward and patted his cheek, her tears coming to a halt.

Krum's hope vanished instantly. "…You deserve better," he whispered, stretching forward to the brunette and wrapping his arms around her petite waist, feeling incapable as she began to cry when he towered over her. (So fragile.) "…You'll have a great life, Hermione, because you're simply amazing….With or without magic." His own tears began to burn behind his sockets.

He knew her well enough to know that there was no changing her mind. It was going to happen. She was going to disappear.

This was it.

"—Stop!"

"Get out the way—"

Bang.

The door of Hermione's chamber burst open and then tumbling in came Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy. Both of them looked red in the face, bewildered eyes as they gaped at the close embrace Hermione and a dark-haired wizard had with each other.

"Krum?" The two wizards asked, raising their eyebrows as the Bulgarian turned to frown at them.

"What are you doing here?" Harry asked.

Shoving Potter aside for asking such an idiotic question, Malfoy hissed, "how the bloody hell do you keep getting in?"

No one answered him. The brunette and the out-of-place wizard stared at both of them with a bit of a shock.

Harry cleared his throat. "Sorry, 'Mione," he mumbled at the surprised eyes of his best friend as she looked straight at the Slytherin instead of him. "I tried to stop him, but he slithered his way past me." No pun intended, he assured. "I tried to contain him but he managed to block my hex."

Without responding or looking at any of the three boys, Hermione got up from the couch and headed towards the door with her heartbreak coming back to life. Her tears ran much faster down their trail as they caught a glimpse of the silvery eyes they longed and missed.

"'Mione—"

"No, I'll go." Viktor grabbed Harry's arm before he could sprint after the girl.

"You aren't going anywhere," Draco snarled, pushing Krum's hold away from Harry's arm. "She's my fiancée. And if rumor has it around the Slytherin common room, yours is Daphne Greengrass so I suggest you go and find her and leave mine alone."

The Bulgarian raised his dark eyebrow high, staring at the blonde Slytherin with an indifferent expression and a hidden sensation to break his face. "It's a shame she was not mine to claim, Malfoy, but you're certainly a pathetic idiot." And Viktor Krum walked casually towards the door with nothing else said.

"Pathetic?" Malfoy growled, his wand suddenly being held by his left fingers tightly as he pointed it forward.

"—Protego!" Harry pointed his wand at the back of the famous Quidditch player; waiting until he was gone to let the shield down and face Malfoy. "There's no need to throw a hissy-fit, Malfoy, you've already caused your damage. What more do you want?"

Turning his wand now at the mighty Savior of the Wizarding World, Malfoy snapped a, "must you get involved in everything, Potter?" The two enemies glared at each other. "Do you honestly have the flare of being the ruddy hero, the center of fucking attention all the time that you stick your nose where it doesn't belong? Because in case you haven't noticed this is my matter not yours!"

"You made it my matter when you dragged Hermione into this," Harry snapped back. "And last time I checked, you didn't have a problem with my flare when I was saving you from the cursed-fire your daft friend caused that almost led you to your death."

Like receiving a smack on the face, Draco Malfoy lowered his wand and stared shockingly at the Gryffindor. (Touché, touché.) "I made a mistake, Potter," he said in a harsh voice, through clenched teeth as that pain swam back into his grey eyes.

"Clearly," Harry huffed, still holding on to his wand tightly.

And before his once archenemy could walk away and leave him in that haunting chamber, Malfoy blurted, "I need your help."

Harry turned slowly, eyebrow raised. "What?"

"I need your help, Potter," Draco repeated, forcing down his pride as it threatened to explode out and attack the Chosen One with a good hex. "…I need to fix this, alright. I need to make this better. I cannot let her do this...I can't lose her."

"But you hate her, Malfoy," the bespectacled wizard kept his eyebrow up; appearing to be confused.

Malfoy cleared his throat, settling his pride again. "…I don't."

Harry crossed his arms, scowling at the blonde boy with his emerald eyes. "Give me a reason, Malfoy," his voice was almost threatening, warning even, "a solid reason to help you and I may consider it."

"Because you need this too," Draco mumbled, his voice coming out a bit shaky for his liking. (He was never going to live this down, he knew it.) "Because you don't want her to go through with this...Because you need her."

"I do," Harry admitted, his glare softening at the intense hurt on Malfoy's face, "but Hermione's happiness matters to me much more than my own. And if her happiness is away from our world, away from us, away from you...I rather her be gone forever than to live in misery."

The two stared defiantly at one another, the Gryffindor and Slytherin with their common hate pushed aside to try and find a link in which the two could be true to one another. Where the two could reach a small peak where they could be friends, where they could leave aside their prides and allow themselves to be honest so they could save a life.

And then Draco said it, clear as can be. "I love her."

Harry Potter lowered his wand, looking less surprised than Malfoy was expecting as the words left his lips and he confessed what he couldn't before. "Very well," he extended his free hand towards the Slytherin, waiting for him to take it. (Both of them looking momentarily repulsed and hesitant.) "I can help you."

'Honestly. I don't know why you two spent all these years hating each other. You make a bloody wicked team.'

Oh, how right Ginny Weasley had been.

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